Chris Whitley died this week of lung cancer. He was 45.
Most folks don’t know much about Chris. And that’s a shame. His music was singular, individual and smoldering. Perhaps more people will explore his music now that he’s gone; that always seems to be the way. But it is unfortunate, because nothing he’s ever recorded really holds a candle to seeing him live. Uneven, intensely personal, usually brilliant and always moody; an unfolding story of small triumphs and large pain. More like poetry I suppose . I saw him 5 times, and in those 5 brief meetings I began to feel as if I had a personal relationship with the man. I for one am a little more for having known him; a little less for having lost him.
I sure hope there’s an afterlife, Id like to see him play one more time.
Someone at The Houston Chronicle probably put him in better perspective than I.